High School Football

When 'band' comes together, Anderson County football tough to handle

Anderson County senior Seth Carmichael has thrown for 3,135 yards and 39 touchdowns this season. He's run for 400 yards and six TDs.
Anderson County senior Seth Carmichael has thrown for 3,135 yards and 39 touchdowns this season. He's run for 400 yards and six TDs.

Anderson County's football team travels to Bowling Green this weekend for the school's first-ever appearance in the state finals.

The Bearcats play Bowling Green for the Class 5A championship Saturday night at WKU's L.T. Smith Stadium.

Anderson County's journey to the title game actually began last year when Coach Mark Peach encouraged the team to adopt a Band of Brothers mind-set.

Peach had read the book about the 101st Airborne Division's role in Europe during World War II and thought the story about Easy Company contained valuable lessons for his players.

"I told the team we could honor their memory by emulating their teamwork and sacrifice for the greater good," Peach said. "I thought it was a good way not only to motivate our team but also educate our young people about some of the great things our armed service people have done."

Peach wasn't sure his players got the message until midway through last season. Anderson County trailed host South Oldham by 27 points in the fourth quarter when Peach heard his players chanting "B.O.B." on the sideline.

"I asked one of my assistants what they were saying, and he said, 'Coach, it's 'Band of Brothers.' "

Led by Seth Carmichael's four touchdown passes, Anderson County rallied to beat South Oldham 38-37.

The Bearcats have been a band of brothers ever since.

Anderson County went on to reach the 2010 region finals and pushed heavily favored John Hardin to the wire before losing 28-24.

"Playing well against a quality opponent in the region championship gave us some confidence, and it carried over to this year," Peach said.

Two weeks ago when Anderson County trailed host Conner in the quarterfinals, Carmichael said the Bearcats' fans started chanting "B.O.B."

Anderson County pulled out a 31-30 victory in the closing seconds.

"To us 'band of brothers' means overcoming adversity, coming together as a unit, and picking each other up when we make a mistake," Carmichael said.

Anderson County hasn't made many mistakes in its run to the finals. The Bearcats play hard, and they play smart, efficient football.

Carmichael, a senior quarterback, has thrown for 3,135 yards and 39 TDs. He's run for 400 yards and six TDs.

Senior Ethan Kelly is a versatile threat. He's rushed for 1,495 yards and 14 TDs, and caught 46 passes for 1,146 yards and 15 TDs.

Seniors Spencer Ruggles and Blake Curtsinger have combined for 52 receptions, 940 yards and 11 TDs.

Carmichael, Kelly and Ruggles are also key players on defense, along with fellow seniors Travis Davis and Travis Phillips.

Anderson County faces its biggest challenge of the season in Bowling Green. The Purples are undefeated against a tough schedule, including victories over St. Xavier, Lexington Catholic, Warren Central (twice) and a stunning 62-20 rout of previously unbeaten John Hardin in last week's semifinals.

But the Bearcats aren't about to back down.

"If we play up to our potential, we can beat anybody," Kelly said. "We weren't expected to get this far, and nobody expects us to beat Bowling Green. We want to prove everybody wrong again."

Carmichael said "anything can happen on any given day. We just have to beat Bowling Green on that one day."

Facing a tough challenge together is part of the band-of-brothers mentality.

"It's what's been driving us since last year," Carmichael said. "When we're in tight situations, we come together as a unit and get things done."